Monkeys are prevalent images in Mesoamerican art. Many examples are represented in a realistic style. The lesser-known Mezcala/Balsas culture of south-west Mexico created primate figures in a very different – rather abstract – style. Unfortunately, because few archaeological excavations have been undertaken in the area, little is known of this culture and its unique sculptures. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a small, stone/serpentine monkey figure – approximately 3 inches high – from the Balsas River region of Guerrero State, which dates from between the 1st and the 8th c. CE ( Accession no. 1979.206.1208). Seated, with long tail upraised and bent over, the primate seems a fine example of Mezcala sculpture. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) also has a small stone monkey attributed to Mezcala, dated to c. 500 BCE – 1000 CE. The Mezcala style ( possibly developed c. 700 BCE) may have been strongly influenced by the enigmatic (well-documented) Olmec civilization that flourished in the (modern) states of Veracruz and Tabasco (c. 1200 – 400 BCE), and also known for their representations of animal gods. A collection of Mezcala art is found in the Regional Museum of Guerrero Mexico, as well as in a number of museums world-wide.
See also: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search#!?q=Mezcala%20monkey
Mexico’s Indigenous Past, A. Lopez Austin and L. L. Lujan, University of Oklahoma Press, 2001.
Mexico, from the Olmecs to the Aztecs, M. D. Coe and R. Koontz, Thames & Hudson, 2002.